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The Misfits (1961)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, Western | 1 February 1961 (USA)
A divorcée falls for an over-the-hill cowboy who is struggling to maintain his romantically independent lifestyle.

Director:

John Huston

Writer:

Arthur Miller (screenplay)
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Clark Gable ... Gay Langland
Marilyn Monroe ... Roslyn Taber
Montgomery Clift ... Perce Howland
Thelma Ritter ... Isabelle Steers
Eli Wallach ... Guido
James Barton ... Fletcher's Grandfather
Kevin McCarthy ... Raymond Taber
Estelle Winwood ... Church Lady Collecting Money in Bar
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Storyline

Roslyn Taber, the type of woman who turns heads easily, recently came to Reno to get a quickie divorce, she having no idea what to do with her life after that. She cannot tolerate seeing animal suffering, let alone human suffering. Coinciding with getting the divorce, Roslyn meets friends Gay Langland and Guido, a divorced aging grizzled cowboy and a widowed mechanic respectively. Although Guido makes no bones about wanting to get to know Roslyn in the biblical sense and although he "saw her first", Roslyn begins a relationship with Gay, despite Roslyn's friend Izzy Steers, who originally came to Reno years ago to get her own divorce and never left, warning her about cowboys as being unreliable, and despite Roslyn initially not being interested in Gay "in that way". Gay has grown children who he rarely sees and wishes he was there for more than was the case. Gay and Roslyn move into the under construction farmhouse owned by Guido, which he was building for his wife before she died. ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It shouts and sings with life ... explodes with love! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 February 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los inadaptados See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Seven Arts Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The start of production was postponed because Marilyn Monroe's earlier film, Let's Make Love (1960), had been delayed by a Screen Actor's Guild strike. This meant the film would be shot in Arizona during the height of summer heat. See more »

Goofs

The chase truck has no windshield. And while the two men riding outside on the flatbed, are buffeted by wind. Eli Wallach, and Marilyn Monroe are barely seeing a breeze. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Isabelle Steers: Young man, do you have the time? I got six clocks in the house and none of them work.
Guido: Twenty after nine.
Isabelle Steers: After? It's twenty after, dear. Dahlin'. Five minutes.
Roslyn: What about you?
Isabelle Steers: I'm all set, I just tyin' my sling. The lawyer said nine thirty sharp, dahlin'.
Roslyn: Okay.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown on and around puzzle pieces. See more »

Connections

Referenced in City Lights: Episode dated 10 October 1979 (1979) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Marilyn –– saving the best for last
7 December 2005 | by randybigham-1See all my reviews

Marilyn Monroe's breathy voice and little girl sweetness have a depth and reason in this film that most of her other roles lacked.

The Misfits, written by Monroe's ex-husband Arthur Miller, is as harsh and dark as his relationship with the actress apparently was. While over-written and plodding, the dialog has an earthy reality that seeps out from time to time, aided in no small way by John Huston's excellent direction and stunning cinematography.

Marilyn's equally iconic co-stars –– Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, Eli Wallach, Thelma Ritter –– realize their parts with finesse and feeling. But Monroe stands out in this modern day, psychological western – not for her beauty or glamor –– but for a contemplative strength and tragic emotion the actress seldom revealed on screen.

She seemed to be emerging from her sex-pot shell in her impersonation of a drifting divorcée drawn to a trio of struggling, yet oddly aimless, Nevada ranch hands. Her expressions and mannerisms are natural, at times weighted with a sadness, a tiredness that may not have been acting at all. Whether intentional or not, these facial shots of grief and pain are exquisitely disturbing, as much for their fleshing out Marilyn's personal travail at the time the movie was made as for the mixed-up character she was playing.

Her sensitivity to the plight of the wild horses the ranchers are capturing and killing for illegal profit, is brilliantly well-paced, her anguished dialog in defense of their freedom evocative of larger social issues coming to the fore in the 1960s. The poignant scenes of her outrage at the men's treatment of the horses are in fact seething in their intensity, giving the viewer a tantalizing glimpse of the caliber of talent Marilyn held in reserve, and would likely have expressed to greater acclaim had she lived longer. As it turned out, The Misfits, with all its pathos and desolation, underscored by sweeping desert backdrops, was Monroe's last film. Perhaps unavoidably, it's regarded by many as a metaphor for Marilyn's own professional and private turmoil.

And it may be. But it's also a splendid tribute to the range of her abilities. More than any other movie in which she appeared, the hauntingly heroic, if flawed, tale of The Misfits is the finest, most compellingly honest work Marilyn Monroe ever achieved.


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